Habitat selection by the Slate Island boreal woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou).
Renton, Jennifer Lynn
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The Slate Islands caribou (Rangifer tarandis caribou) is an insular population which has experienced several population crashes and has been described as likely to succumb to extirpation. While a great deal of research has been conducted on mainland woodland caribou, factors which influence caribou distributions may differ between island and main land populations. In this thesis, I investigate relationships between habitat, landscape, anthropogenic features, population size, predation and spatial distribution of woodland caribou across the Slate Islands Provincial Park (Ontario) at the forest-patch spatial scale. Generalized linear models were used to compare observed caribou locations to available locations across the park, based on data from 1978 to 1995. Results indicated that the Slate Islands caribou selected deciduous cover, larger forest patches, areas further to water, flatter areas, lower elevations and areas closer to anthropogenic features. Population size had a limited effect on caribou distributions.